It feels very much like the same old, same old. Once again, I'm really not well. Thought I was getting better but apparently not. Indeed, I have been quite unwell. It's hard to know what to write here, what I might regret (although I can always post edit). Indeed I've delayed writing anything for some days and delayed publishing for several more. It's so absurdly difficult reflecting on this illness, my head feels like porridge and thinking about what's going on inside it ties me in knots. In lucid moments, sensible Janet comes out and says all the right things and then I feel like I'm managing this just. oh. so. well. And that really, I should just be able to go on with my life. Which is actually the loopy me talking, because I can't. Shouldn't. There's a hall of mirrors inside my head.
Last week at work was truly awful. I felt like I had no skin, open to everyone else's feelings. The medical word is labile, from the Latin labilis, meaning liable to slip. I had this feeling before the post natal psychosis. Maintaining control has been like navigating a supermarket on acid without anyone noticing. You can do it, sort of, but it's really, really difficult. And it had begun to feel like normal. Obviously I looked and sounded fine enough on the outside, but wasn't and lacked the judgement to tell someone. Wednesday was surreal. On the way to work, on a packed tram, an old lady fell into my arms. She was about to dismenbark and I was poised to take her seat when I heard her teenage granddaughter say, Nan, Nan are you alright? Someone help. I stood behind her as she fell back into my arms. Someone call an ambulance, I said, and people reached for their mobiles. I helped the old lady onto the floor and was checking for breathing. As she came to, another woman, much more experienced in first aid, appeared from the back of the tram and took charge. We placed her in the recovery position and put something under her head. A connex offical with a backpack arrived and despite the firstaider saying that the old lady shouldn't be moved, arranged for the tram to be cleared and change tracks so the next tram could pass. As I went on to work I couldn't stop crying under my sunglasses. In the end, I think the old lady was taken good care of. It's pretty normal to be shaken when something like that happens, but later and throughout the day, I started to doubt whether the event had actually happened. Eventhough I could still feel her old lady soft body fall against me. Reality was becoming tenuous.
There have been stretches where things have been OK. Including some Christmas shopping, in town, on Thursday morning. Bizarre, I know. Mind you, lunch at my favourite food court eatery (with really good chilli eggplant, mmm) was surreal. A really fat man sat at the table next to me and picked at his food and another man, homeless I think, did furtive battle with the sparrows as he ate from plates left by others. The young waitress clearing tables pointedly ignoring him. I just sat there and freaked out. However with hindsight, it's obvious that good bits have been moving further apart, becoming much more unpredictable. It all came rushing out at my psychiatrist appointment that afternoon. Not only did my doctor have her notebook out, but she checked her notes from the previous two and a half years.When I said the thought of hospital is appealing, she asked me, would you like to go to hospital? I can arrange it, but it would have to be in the public system. I've been in hospital before and decided no, because as my doctor says, hospital has it's own set of terrors. It's likely that I have a form of mania. Not a bright sparkly high, but an anxious unpleasant one. Chances are that my diagnosis has moved from mood affectiveness disorder to some type of bipolar. On hearing this I cried, I blamed myself (as I always do) for not being more on to it. We can manage this, the doctor said, would you react this way if it was diabetes or some other treatable condition? Lots of people make this point and can I just say that I would (at least intially) blame myself for having diabetes. And be upset and frightened. Being faced with a chronic condition is probably always shocking. Even when the signs have been there for a while.
I've told work what's happened. Not too much detail but the truth. Which worries me, but then if just say I have a medical condition, is that really better for me? There's no problem with leave but because I'm taking more than five days off, I'll have a rehabilitation caseworker assigned when I return. Gotta love the public service. I've been crapped off and pretty angry about it all; upset that I'm leaving my colleagues short staffed at a busy time, feeling like a shirker, a fake (love that hall of mirrors) and a drama queen, worried about how I'll be labelled, whether I can still do my job and how it will affect my future prospects. It's amazing how attractive work becomes when you can't. If I'm well enough to go to the Christmas party after work next week, they'll arrange for someone to collect me and Grace. Which is really pretty sweet and decent. But what do I say to people? The other night Dad reminded me I like my work, that it gives me a deep sense of achievement as well as an income. It's important to remember that not coping at work is a symptom of being ill and not the cause. In the past I might have just left. I'm determined not to do that this time.
So everything is on hold. No work until the new year. No buying houses* or other big decisions until I'm better. No driving until the new drugs stop making me drowsy and the crazy has settled. Not too much computer. I didn't leave the house for two days and alternated between nausea, head popping headaches and drowsiness with the odd bout of pitiful crying (but not in front of Grace). It wasn't depressed crying, more sorry for myself, how did I let it get this bad, it's all my fault for not living a better life, being in the mental health system is making me crazy and oh shit, I have to take mood stabilising medication again* and what if I turn into a zombie, and yep, I really am going crazy, kind of crying.
Oh fuck it.
On the good side, we already have some clean bits in the house. Not a whole house, but patches of detailed clean. Expect spasmodic posting and weird comments with bad spelling. And maybe some sewing and jam making. There has to be a good side to this. There really does.
* A house that I really liked sold in our price range today, but doing a major renovation in this state is lunacy - even I can see that. There will be more houses.
* Not lithium which I liked and would happily take again except that it gives me the shits, quite literally. Another one. Side effects (for me) unknown at this stage. Although it does appear to be working and calm seems to be returning. Yay for that.